In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the Writing University has been continuing our series of interviews with writers in the various University of Iowa writing programs. We ask about their work, their process and their descriptions of home. We are posting them now as examples of our shared community strength during this time.
Today's interview is with Miah Clark, a second-year English and Creative Writing major with a Writing Certificate, and an alum of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio.
Miah Clark is a second-year English and Creative Writing major with a Writing Certificate. Alongside her coursework, Miah is the poetry editor for @patchworklitmag and runs her own poetry instagram, @miahwrites. She has previously worked for university publications including @inklitmag and @newmoonmagazine, and was also the editor of the 2020 Iowa Chapbook Prize’s “Make|Shape”.
1. Do you have a specific project that you will be working on this year?
My goal for 2020 and honestly for 2021 as well if necessary is to work towards the publication of my first poetry collection. I have a manuscript that I have been submitting around, but my goal is for it to find a home with the correct publisher by the end of 2021. For 2020 primarily though it is to get my uncollected works published as widely as I possibly can, either through my own social media or with specific magazines or blog
2. What does your daily practice look like for your writing? Do you have a certain time when you write, or any specific routine?
While the trope exists that writers should write every day, I simply am not one of those writers. I honestly am more often in drought when it comes to writing than I am in fits of inspiration. During those times though, I spend the moments I am not working reading, either authors I already love or browsing the Instagram poetry scene to see new works from author’s in my sphere or of a similar style to my own. When I am able to write though, it kind of hits me out of nowhere. I’m much more the type of poet to write something random on the back of a receipt than I am the type to light a candle and write at my desk.
3. What are you currently reading right now? Are you reading for research or pleasure?
Thanks to the lovely institution of college education I am currently doing both - “Frankenstein” for coursework and Sharon Old’s “The Gold Cell” for pleasure (although I am not sure how pleased I am by her works). More often than not my reading comes from scrolling through the poetry side of Instagram.
4. Can you tell us a little about your choice to attend the University of Iowa after you participated in the Iowa Young Writers' Studio?
Long story short: my time at the IYWS was life-changing. The literary work I was doing as a high schooler was rooted in stage-writing and performance poetry, and the IYWS was my first real and valuable chance to experiment with written poetry. I do not think I would claim the title “poet” as confidently as I do today without having gained my footing in my craft first at the IYWS. The program also made it apparent how valuable the resources, the culture, the entire literary environment the University provides are. As a senior in high school looking at other universities, it became an easy decision to choose UI when it comes to what is offered for students who identify as “writers” before anything else.
5. Tell us about where you are from -- what are a few of your favorite details about your home?
I’m from Overland Park, KS, which is a larger suburb of the Kansas City KS/MO area. What I love most is the literary environment that Kansas City fosters, which for me has always been grounded in spoken word and theater. In high school I wrote for a teen playwrights collective with the Coterie Theater and was a competitor and coach in Kansas City’s Louder than a Bomb spoken word poetry competition, and the experiences I gained from both of those activities are things that I will likely be forever grateful for as I continue my path as a writer.
Thank you Miah!